On Fridays, I load up my 10-month-old son, Tucker, in a stroller, and together we go on a prayer walk up and down our street. During this walk, I usually ask for God’s favor and blessing over our neighborhood, for the Lord to send laborers into the harvest (Matthew 9:35-38), and for those who have not repented and trusted in Christ to be saved from the judgment we all deserve.
Over the last few months, I’ve begun knocking on one neighbor’s door each time I go on the walk, working my way down the street. I introduce myself and ask how I can pray for them while seeking opportunities to share the gospel. This has brought me into wonderful conversations with people from various worldviews (Catholics, Protestants, atheists, even Jehovah’s Witnesses!). I get so nervous before I set out, but it has been amazing to see how God has used this weekly walk to spread His message of truth. Together Tucker and I have been able to share the gospel more than I ever imagined (granted, Tucker usually doesn’t do much of the talking, but the cute baby cooing in the stroller typically helps get people to engage in conversation).
This week we met a neighbor a few doors down from us named Eleanor. She said she would like me to pray for our country, which led to a great conversation on her front porch. After a few minutes, I realized Eleanor is a sister in Christ. She said that she had seen us walking before and was greatly encouraged that Tucker and I have committed to doing this type of thing in our neighborhood. She told me she would pray for us as we continue praying for our neighbors.
When I go on the walk, I always bring a gospel tract with me that I will hand to my neighbors after our conversation, along with a friendly encouragement to read it (to date, I’ve never had anyone—even the atheists—refuse the offer). The tracts also have my name and number on them, and I tell neighbors to please reach out if there is anything my wife and I can do to serve them.
I felt it unnecessary to give Eleanor a tract since she clearly struck me as a genuine follower of Jesus, but since it had my contact information on it, I decided to offer her one. I explained what the tract said and told her, “You probably don’t need this.” A warm smile forming on her face, she took it and said, “No, but I might know someone who does.”
Tucker and I returned home and said a prayer of thanks to God, greatly encouraged by the conversation that had just taken place.
The Lord gave me two pieces of biblical wisdom from this most recent prayer walk.
- When you’re in the harvest, you will inevitably encounter resistance and opposition to the gospel (I think of Jesus’ words when sending out the disciples in Matthew 10:22. He says in no uncertain terms, “You will be hated…”). Still, sometimes the Lord graciously brings you into contact with another believer. I think this is at least partly meant for our own encouragement. When speaking with Eleanor, it was almost as if I heard Jesus whisper the words He said to Paul at Corinth: “Do not be afraid, but go on speaking and do not be silent, for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you, for I have many in this city who are my people” (Acts 18:9-10).
- Every time I go on this prayer walk, I feel incredibly nervous and don’t want to do it. I easily become fearful of what people will think and forget that the most loving thing I could do is tell them about the only way to be saved from the wages of their sin. Thankfully, I have Christian brothers and sisters in my life much bolder than I am who have inspired me to make a consistent commitment to proclaim the gospel. And sometimes, when God gives you the courage to step out in faith, He will use your boldness to inspire another Christian to step out in faith as well. Eleanor had already trusted in Jesus, and I praise God for that. But perhaps the tract she received will help supply the courage necessary to share the gospel with someone in her life who has yet to trust in the finished and sufficient work of our risen King. Fear isn’t the only thing that can spread quickly. Courage, I have found, is also quite contagious.
Take heart, brothers, and sisters. Keep pressing on for the sake of the gospel. The Christ who commissions you is also the Christ who will be with you (Matthew 28:18-20). He alone can save, and He alone is worthy.